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There was a time when strawberries were a rare treat – just the wild ones you occasionally came across as you hiked in the woods or the ones sold in the supermarket only during the month of June. Not any more!

Strawberries originally came from the Alpine regions where they have been growing wildly for thousands of years. They have a history that goes back over 2,200 years. The strawberry, a member of the rose family, is unique in that it is the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than the inside.

There are many explanations about how strawberries got their name. Some believe that the name came from the practice of placing straw around the growing plants for protection and others believe the name originated over 1000 years ago because of the runners which spread outward from the plant. The name may have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon verb to strew (spread) and the fruit came to be known as streabergen, straberry, streberie, straibery, straubery and finally, “STRAWBERRY’ to the English.

Most likely due to the fact that their shape vaguely recalls that of a heart, strawberries have always been considered a symbol of love. According to an ancient legend, strawberries were created out of the tragic love the goddess Venus had for Adonis. There is another famous story about strawberries that occurred during the time of Louis XIV, King of France. At that time, the ladies of the court used strawberries as a symbol of their affection. If a woman wanted to let a man know that she was interested in him, all she had to do was eat strawberries in his presence.

Perhaps this is the reason the French court was the first to try to cultivate strawberries. Until the middle of the XVII century, in fact, strawberries grew exclusively in the wild. The botanists of the Sun King  variety were the first to cultivate them. They transplanted wild plants into the royal garden and then crossed the European varieties with South American varieties. The new strawberries were larger, less delicate and easier to grow.

Strawberries were discovered in Virginia by the first Europeans when their ships landed there in 1588. Early settlers in Massachusetts enjoyed eating strawberries grown by local Native Americans who cultivated strawberries as early as 1643. Strawberries have been grown in California since the early 1900’s. Today, over 25,000 acres of strawberries are planted each year in California and the state produces over 80% of the strawberries grown in the United States. On average, each acre produces about 21 tons of strawberries and the state produces one billion pounds of strawberries a year.

Strawberry Jar

Strawberry varieties are one of three types: the June-bearing, the everbearing or the day-neutral. The difference among the types is the time during the growing season that the plants produce fruit. The June-bearing varieties flourish in the spring and produce one crop. Everbearing plants yield fruit several times, usually at the beginning and the end of the growing season. The day-neutral varieties produce an ongoing crop throughout the summer months as long as the weather is not too hot.

Packed with vitamins, fiber and high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving — about eight strawberries — provides more vitamin C than an orange.

Purchasing and Storing Strawberries

The berries should be a shiny scarlet and blemish free. If the tips are paler, or green, the berries are probably not ripe and could be tasteless. The berries should also look firm. If their color is dull, or if they look dry or soft, they may well be old.

If you’re buying a plastic container of strawberries turn it over to check the berries underneath, as well, because they easily become moldy. As a final check, sniff the strawberries: a strong strawberry aroma should greet you. If it does not, the chances are that the strawberries won’t have much taste.

When you get them home store, them in the refrigerator; they’ll keep a couple of days. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. Store fresh strawberries in a colander in the refrigerator. This allows the cold air to circulate around them. Do not cover them.

Remove caps (stems/leaves) from strawberries only after washing because the caps keep the water from breaking down the texture and flavor inside the strawberries.

Prepare strawberries for serving by rinsing under a gentle spray of cool water; pat dry with a paper towel.

Remove the green caps (stems) with a light twisting motion or with the point of a paring knife. It’s as easy as a twist of the wrist.

You can also purchase a strawberry de-stemmer/huller at your local kitchen store or online (see photo).

Strawberry Huller

When you have more strawberries than you can eat or when strawberries can be obtained at a reasonable cost, freeze them to eat later or for use in pies and other baked goods.

Fresh Strawberry Measurements:

1 tray or flat of strawberries = 12 baskets or pints.

1 small basket = 1 pint strawberries = 12 large strawberries = 24 medium strawberries = 36 small strawberries.

1 pint = 2 to 2.5 cups sliced (1/4-inch thick slices) strawberries.

1 pint = 1.25 to 1.5 cups pureed (mashed) strawberries.

Frozen Strawberries

20-ounce bag frozen whole strawberries = 4 cups whole strawberries = 2.5 cup sliced strawberries = 2.25 cups pureed (mashed) strawberries.

10-ounce package frozen sliced sweetened strawberries = 1.25 cups frozen strawberries in syrup.

Wild Italian Strawberries

Strawberries grew wild in Italy as long ago as 234 B.C. and in Ancient Rome, these red fruits were considered valuable. They believed that the berries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, halitosis, attacks of gout and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.

In Italy one of the most famous places for strawberries is Lago di Nemi, a crater lake in the Alban Hills overlooking Rome; the crater walls capture the warmth of the sun and because the crater rim is unbroken the basin is shielded from cool winds. Italians celebrate the season with a festival in June and Nemi’s strawberries do not last long, since they are scooped up by the Romans.

In Italy, fresh strawberries are often served as dessert, not usually with cream but more often sprinkled with sugar, or splashed with lemon juice or sometimes dipped in wine. While we think of strawberries as a sweet course, they can be turned into a savory dish by including them in salads made with an extra virgin olive oil and  balsamic vinegar dressing.

The traditional Italian method for serving strawberries is with wine: fragole al vino. Hull the strawberries, quarter them lengthwise, sprinkle them with wine, dust them with a little sugar and put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The wine of choice for this recipe is usually a red Chianti or an Asti or Prosecco sparkling wine.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 slices Italian bread
  • Olive oil for brushing on bread
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup goat cheese, room temperature
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat vinegar in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced by about half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Prepare an indoor or outdoor grill for high heat. Place bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.

Combine strawberries and basil in a small bowl and set aside.

Grill bread on the preheated grill until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Spread goat cheese on toasted bread. Add black pepper, salt,and reduced vinegar to the strawberry mixture. Spoon over the goat cheese topped bruschetta. Garnish with additional basil.

Strawberry Italian Ice

5 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup thawed unsweetened apple juice concentrate
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Fresh mint

Directions:

In a blender, combine the apple juice concentrate, lemon juice and strawberries; cover and process until blended. Pour into an ungreased 8-inch square dish. Cover and freeze for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until partially set.

Spoon into a large bowl; beat on medium speed for 1-1/2 minutes.

Return to dish; freeze for 2-3 hours or until firm.

Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with mint if desired.

Strawberry Cannoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint (12 oz) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons)granulated sugar
  • 15 oz. skim-milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chocolate mini chips
  • 1/4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 box (8) cannoli shells
  • Garnish: sliced strawberries

Directions:

At least 1 day before serving; Line a colander and a medium-size strainer with a sturdy paper towel; set each in a bowl.

Pulse strawberries and granulated sugar in food processor until coarsely chopped. Scrape into colander, top with a paper towel and refrigerate overnight to drain well (this is important).

Clean processor.

Put ricotta, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in processor; pulse until smooth. Transfer to strainer, cover with a paper towel and refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving: Fold drained berries, mini chocolate chips and almond extract into ricotta mixture. Spoon into a gallon-size ziptop bag. Cut 1⁄2 inch off a corner; pipe filling into cannoli shells and garnish with powdered sugar and extra sliced strawberries.. 

Italian Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients:

For the Shortcakes

  • 2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting board or counter
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour 
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk

For the Berry Mixture:

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint

For the Ricotta Cream:

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

For the Shortcakes

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk cake flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter using two knives or a pastry cutter until the pieces are about the size of peas. Cut in cream cheese until it’s the size of peas. Drizzle oil over the mixture; stir with a fork until just combined (the mixture will be crumbly). Make a well in the center and add egg and buttermilk. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a fork until the mixture is evenly moist. Knead the mixture in the bowl two or three times until it holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust with flour and roll into an 8-by-10-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the edges square using a butter knife. Cut the dough into 12 equal shortcakes. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake the shortcakes until puffed and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

For the Ricotta Cream

Combine the ricotta cheese, sour cream, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve shortcakes.

For the Berries

While the shortcakes bake, wash and hull (remove the stem) from the strawberries. Slice them lengthwise. Remove the mint leaves from their stem and thinly slice. Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and mint to the strawberries. Let the mixture stand for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

To serve: split the shortcakes horizontally. Spoon the berries and juice onto the bottoms, top with the ricotta mixture and replace the shortcake tops. Garnish with more strawberries.

Italian Strawberry Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or Eagle Brand Ultra Grain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir by hand until just moistened. Do not overmix.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press strawberry halves deeply into the dough in a circular pattern of 2 or 3 rings.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Strawberry Fields

 


Lighter Baking Techniques

Fruit purées like applesauce or mashed banana (or even vegetable purées made from pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes) make muffins and other baked goods tender and moist while allowing you to reduce the overall fat and sugar in the recipe. Normally it’s fat that helps baked goods stay moist, because it surrounds the starch granules and protects them from gluten development, locking in moisture. But the pectin in fruit and vegetables does essentially the same thing, making it possible to cut back on the fat in a recipe without sacrificing moisture. Fruit purées also provide sweetness, so you can add less sugar to your batter.  A fast track for making baked goods healthier is to use oil instead of butter, lard, or shortening. That’s because oil is unsaturated fat (“good fat”), while butter, lard, and shortening are mostly saturated fats (“bad fat”). For muffins, quick breads, coffee cakes, and even pancakes, trading all the solid fat for oil works perfectly.  You want baked goods to be healthy, but you don’t want them to taste healthy. By using half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose, you get the antioxidants, fiber, and essential minerals of the whole grain, but you also hold onto the tender lightness produced by white flour. 

Avoid Overbaking

Reduced-fat baked goods tend to bake more quickly than those made with full fat. If left in the oven too long, they can become dry. If you’ve lowered the fat significantly, try lowering the oven temperature by 25° and/or check the product for doneness a few minutes before the end of the usual baking time.
A toothpick test does not always work with reduced-fat baking. Instead, look for lightly browned edges that are beginning to pull away from the pan. Cakes should spring back when gently pressed in the center.
Success in lower-fat baking comes from trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment. And don’t try to lighten up a recipe too much. After all, a cake or quick bread that serves 12 people and contains only 1/4 cup of oil and 1 or 2 eggs is already pretty light!

Use these guidelines to make some of your favorite sweets more healthful.

1. Use fruit purées to cut down on fat and sugar.Purées work best in recipes that already have a fruit or vegetable element, like banana bread, carrot cake or blueberry muffins.

Try substituting 1 cup purée for 1/4 cup of the butter or oil in your recipe; taking the sugar down by 1 or 2 tablespoons., depending on the sweetness of the purée; and reducing the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

2.Swap solid fat with liquid fat.

In other words, instead of butter or shortening, use oil. If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup butter, use 1/4 cup oil instead.

This works best for moist sweets like muffins, quick breads, coffee cakes, and pancakes, where you can substitute all of the solid fat with oil.

3. In most bakery recipes (muffins, cakes, cookies, coffee cakes, bars, brownies, nut breads, etc.) you can substitute whole wheat for two-thirds or one-half the white flour called for.

Compared to 1/4 cup of white flour, each 1/4 cup of whole-wheat flour adds 3.5 grams of fiber and various phytochemicals, and doubles the amount of magnesium and selenium.

The extra fiber helps slow digestion and increase fullness.

4. In most bakery recipes, you can reduce the sugar called for by one-fourth– and sometimes by one-third —without a big difference in taste and texture.

For example, instead of adding 1 cup of sugar, you can add 3/4 cup or you can use an alternative sweetener approved for use in baking.

This cuts the calories from sugar by 48 calories for every tablespoon of sugar you take out or replace with a substitute.

5. In many bakery recipes, you can cut the fat ingredient (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil) in half.

In other words, if a cake recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or margarine, you can usually use 1/2 cup instead. Remember to replace the missing fat with a similar amount of a moist but healthy ingredient (fat-free sour cream, orange juice, low-fat yogurt, applesauce, etc.).

This change cuts both fat and calories, since each gram of fat translates into 9 calories as opposed to 4 per gram for protein or carbohydrate.

6. Cook with reduced-fat or fat-free products when available — and when they taste good.

Try fat-free sour cream, fat-free half-and-half, reduced-fat cheeses, light cream cheese, light mayonnaise, extra lean meat without skin or visible fat, reduced-fat or light sausage, less-fat turkey bacon, light salad dressings, and light margarine for frosting.

Many cut calories and saturated fat along with total fat. Fat-free sour cream and half-and-half, chicken broth, wine, strong coffee, fruit purees, and fruit juice add moisture, and sometimes flavor, to recipes where you aren’t using a lot of fatty ingredients.

7. Extra ingredients and embellishments can often be removed or cut in half.

If a recipe calls for chocolate chips, you can use less. If it calls for dotting your casserole or pie with butter, you can skip this step. In a cake recipe, you can use half the original amount of frosting (in a double-layer cake, just frost the top and middle and forget the sides).

In some cakes, bars, and cookies, you can skip the frosting in favor of a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. Using 2 tablespoons of frosting instead of 4 will shave 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Each tablespoon of chocolate chips you skip cuts the calories by 50 per serving, the fat by 3 grams, and the saturated fat by almost 2 grams.

8. Replacing a whole egg with egg white or egg substitute can be a good nutritional savings, especially if you are watching your cholesterol.

One whole egg contains 5 grams of fat and 210 milligrams of cholesterol. The equivalent amount of egg white or fat-free egg substitute contains no fat and no cholesterol.  

Eggs help to bind batters and also have leavening properties. Egg yolks provide fat, which contributes to the fine, tender texture and color of baked goods.

Egg whites are a drying and leavening agent. If more than one egg is called for in a recipe, consider replacing some of the whole eggs with egg whites or egg substitute.

For best results, combine whole eggs with egg whites or egg substitute. In a lower-fat recipe, too many egg whites will make a baked good dry and rubbery.

Here is a good guide to keep in mind:

  • 1 large egg = 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg = 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 large egg white = 2 tablespoons egg substitute

Italian Cream Cake

This layered cake is the perfect dessert for a birthday or special dinner party because it is moist and full of flavor from the chopped pecans and cream cheese frosting. Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Cream Cheese Icing:

Yield: 2 2/3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon light butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Neufchâtel ( 1/3 less fat) cream cheese
  • 1 (1-pound) package powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake:

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (at room temperature)

Directions:

Prepare Cream Cheese Icing; cover and chill.

Coat bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray, and dust with flour; set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine 2 cups flour and baking soda; stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in pecans and extracts.

Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans using a narrow metal spatula, and turn out onto wire racks. Peel off wax paper, and let cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate, and spread with 2/3 cup Cream Cheese Icing; top with another cake layer. Repeat with 2/3 cup icing and remaining layer, ending with cake. Spread remaining icing over cake.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice equals 297 calories

Italian Chocolate-Chestnut Torte

10 servings

Purchase chestnuts in syrup, or marrons glacés, and the chestnut flour at a well-stocked supermarket or gourmet food store or order online. If making torte up to 1 day ahead, cool, cover airtight, and chill.
Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon rum 
  • 1/4 cup chestnut flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped chestnuts in syrup, drained, or marrons glacés
  • Cookie crust (recipe follows)
  • Powdered sugar
  • 8 to 10 whole chestnuts in syrup, drained, or marrons glacés (optional)

Directions

1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate in a microwave oven on full power (100%) until soft, about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

2. To chocolate, add mascarpone, ricotta, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, egg yolks, rum, flour, and chopped chestnuts; stir until well blended.

3. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently fold whites into cheese mixture; scrape into cookie crust and spread level.

4. Bake in a 350° oven until filling is firm when pan is gently shaken and springs back when lightly touched in the center, about 30 minutes (20 minutes in a convection oven).

5. Cool on a rack about 20 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan rim; remove rim. Let torte cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes; proceed, or chill airtight up to 1 day.

6. Sift powdered sugar over torte. If desired, decorate top with whole chestnuts spaced evenly around rim.

Cookie crust

In a food processor or blender, whirl about 45 vanilla wafer cookies (6 oz. total) until finely ground. Pour crumbs into a bowl and add 3 tablespoons low-fat margarine, 1 tablespoon each honey and rum, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; mix well and press evenly over bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch cake pan with removable rim.

.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice, Calories: 248

Ricotta Semifreddo

“Semifreddo” is an Italian term that refers to any number of frozen or chilled desserts. This recipe is for a frozen orange-scented mousse made with ricotta cheese.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
  • Fresh orange sections (optional

Directions

1. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, milk, honey, orange rind, vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon salt, cream cheese, and ricotta in a blender; process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Pour cream into a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/4 cup whipped cream into ricotta mixture, then, fold in the remaining cream.
2. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze at least 8 hours or until set. Remove semifreddo from freezer, and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Discard top piece of plastic wrap. Invert loaf pan onto a serving platter, and tap to remove semifreddo. Discard the remaining plastic wrap, and slice semifreddo crosswise. Serve with orange sections, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:Calories: 226

Cherry Tortoni

If you don’t have 3-inch ring molds, which look like round cookie cutters, use smooth-sided mini charlotte molds with removable bottoms. Or you can freeze the mixture in a 9-inch springform pan and cut it into wedges for a more homey presentation.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 [3-inch] tortoni and 2 1/2 teaspoons sauce)
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 (12-ounce) package frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 12 vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 (8-ounce) container frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

1. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, amaretto, and sweet cherries in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves and cherries are soft, stirring occasionally. Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into cherry mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spoon cherry mixture into a bowl; cover and chill 1 hour. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl and reserve. Cover and chill juice.

2. Place almonds and wafers in a food processor; process until coarsely ground.

3. Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until a thermometer registers 160° (about 6 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon whipped topping into a large bowl. Gently fold one-fourth of egg white mixture into whipped topping; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Fold 1/2 cup almond mixture into egg white mixture; gently fold in strained cherry mixture.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; place 10 (3-inch) ring molds on parchment. Spoon 1/2 cup egg white mixture into each mold; sprinkle the remaining almond mixture evenly over tops. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; freeze 4 hours or until set. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. Run a knife around the outside edge; remove from molds. Serve tortonis with the reserved cherry juice.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 177

Angeletti

Makes 36 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Smart Balance butter blend for baking, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Glaze:

  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons multi-color sprinkles, for decoration

Directions
1. Heat oven to 375° F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs until blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined (do not overmix).
3. With floured hands, roll level tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and the bottoms are pale golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
4. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and the vanilla until the mixture forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more water if necessary).
5. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and set, rounded side up, on a rack placed over a piece of parchment paper.  Decorate with sprinkles. Allow the glaze to set, about 20 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Tip: Use a small spring-loaded scoop for easy portioning.

Nutritional Information
Serving Size: 1 cookie, Calories 81



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